New Neb COVID-19 Limits; Over 18,000 Cases So Far Posted by John Axtell Date: October 17, 2020 1001 Views Gov. Pete Ricketts has announced new restrictions aimed at curbing the coronavirus amid a surge of new cases and hospitalizations in Nebraska, but the new limits going into effect next Wednesday and running until the end of November are fairly minor. The biggest affect hospitals, who must reserve at least 10% of their general beds and of their Intensive Care Unit beds for incoming COVID-19 patients. If they don’t, they won’t be allowed to perform elective procedures. . Indoor gatherings, currently allowed up to 75% of venue capacity, must drop to 50% and bars and restaurants can’t seat more than 8 people from a group at one table. Bar and restaurant patrons are also required to stay seated unless placing an order, using the restroom, or playing games – meaning no dancing. Nebraska Health and Human Services reported over a thousand new cases of COVID-19 on Friday – 1,226 to be exact – along with 430 recoveries and a dozen more deaths, shooting the number of active cases past 18,000 to 18,084 including 322 in the hospital. Governor Ricketts says he issued the new restrictions because the state needs to have a renewed emphasis that we are slowing the spread of the virus and remaining capable of treating those who do become sick. The number of available hospital beds and ICU beds rose slightly Friday to 32% and 29% respectively while availability of ventilators stayed at 77%. Nebraska has now had 56,714 cases, 547 deaths, and 38,083 recoveries. Panhandle Unified Command reported 63 new cases and only 4 recoveries Friday, sending the number of active cases from 225 to 321. Hospitalizations dropped by 2 to 18. The region has now had 1,300 total cases, 968 recoveries, and 11 deaths. Dawes County added 8 new cases and 3 recoveries, raising the number of active cases to 37. The county has had 195 cases and 158 recoveries. Chadron State College added 3 new active cases for a total of 8 with 4 students and 4 staff.. The college has confirmed 63 cases since the pandemic began, 51 students and 12 staffers with all but the 8 active cases having recovered. Another positive case in the Chadron Public Schools has recovered, leaving 3 active cases – 2 at the high school and 1 at the middle school. The district has had 22 confirmed cases all together, and 3 individuals remain in quarantine.